Social Media Success Stories Needed for next PE 27Dinner

Apologies for the inconvenience with the 27Dinner being postponed from September to October. Everything has been confirmed and we’re going ahead full steam with regular 27Dinner events in Nelson Mandela Bay. We should do at least 4 during 2010, one every 3 months.

This month we’re hosting a very special 27Dinner event in Port Elizabeth. As usual it’ll take place at the Algoa Bay Yacht Club, thanks for Alan Stratton from MyPE. The focus this month is discovering social media success stories from Nelson Mandela Bay. So if you have a story to share, a victory to celebrate from the Web 2.0 revolution, join us. Yusuf Moses, my awesome PA, will handle the MC duties to allow me a 10 minute speaking slot, discussing the growth of the 27Dinner movement, and mutual-aid between African bloggers. For those reading this for the first time, the 27Dinner events take place all across South Africa in major cities like Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Port Elizabeth and soon Bloemfontein.

The purpose is to expose the masses to social media, introduce new concepts from Web 2.0 into the collective consciousness of Web users, Internet experts, graphic designers, PR executives, and all forms of decision makers from small to large enterprises. And we aim to distil the value of social media for everyone who’s serious about getting more from the online world. Past events in PE 27Dinners have covered topics as diverse as drug counselling using MXit, innovative social networking platforms like ZoopedUp and Blueworld, and other niche areas.

These events are FREE aka gratis, and you simply have to add you name on the 27Dinner website after completing a simply sign-up procedure. You can volunteer to sponsor these events with wine, desert, gadgets like cool new cellphones or gaming consoles – hint, hint I want a Nintendo WII or Microsoft Xbox, forget about Sony Playstations. Otherwise simply come along for good food and conversation.

We’re still looking for more speakers on the above mentioned topic. So if you know anyone who can elucidate our minds with a success story from the Port Elizabeth-East London-Uitenhage areas, feel free to email me their contact information and I’ll gladly make it happen.


MXit Drug Counselling at 27Dinner in Port Elizabeth

Marlon Parker, Brent Williams and Ramon Thomas at Highway Africa, Rhodes University in GrahamstownMarlon Parker will be visiting Port Elizabeth this week to present an inspirational talk at the regular 27Dinner event this Thursday in Port Elizabeth. The 27Dinner events are free events where geeks and non-geeks get together and discuss technology. The purpose of the 27Dinner events is to create awareness about how technology can be used to change in society and also for entrepreneurship and income generation. And the events happen on the 27th of the month in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban. This will be the 3rd 27Dinner event in the Nelson Mandela Bay area.

A big part of the motivation for bringing Marlon Parker to Port Elizabeth is to kick start the DAS@MXit in Nelson Mandela Bay area. Over the last three years MXit has grown to over 10 million registered users. This platform, the most widely used instant messaging platform among people 12-25 years old is the most practical method of providing online counselling. In North America and other parts of the world Internet-based online counselling has been available for years now. However, due to the cost of bandwidth in South Africa, cellphone-based online counselling is more practical alternative.

The other guest speakers will be confirmed today and their information posted on where you have to register and add your name to the particular event you would like to attend, in the city of your own choice. Stormhoek wines have sponsored free bottles of wine in Cape Town and Johannesburg. I have yet to persuade them to send some wine to Port Elizabeth for our enjoyment.

This is also the final function for the year that the NETucation team will be organising because we are shifing our focus inwards until 1 March 2009. Planning my 2009 schedule is going to be one of the key success factors to grow the audience to this blog as well as to my other online efforts.


27Dinner talk, Mutual-Aid between African Bloggers

Thank you very much to Dave Duarte and Max Kaizen who have both supported my drive to create stronger relationships between South African bloggers and those bloggers from the rest of Africa. This has nothing to do with with the Xenophobia attacks, although it will restore tremendous goodwill that has always been there in the blogging community – most South African bloggers may not have been aware of this until this talk at the bi-monthly 27Dinner event in Cape Town.

I delivered for me one of the most important messages since I began blogging in 2003. I have taken up the cause of bringing blogging to the masses and also using these platforms to enhance entrepreneurship. We can never have enough collaboration or communication between. Through a series of experience and travels I have met and become friendly with many bloggers in South Africa as well as the rest of Africa.

The journey for me started back in 2006 when I attended the inaugural Digital Citizens Indaba. I am returning to Uitenhage via the Garden Route and will blog more about the background to this project this weekend…

Anyway here’s the Presentation, cleaned up a little bit from 27Dinner in Cape Town:

Mutual Aid Between African Bloggers


Finally made it to Cape Town 27Dinner

Ramon Thomas and Dave Duarte @ 27Dinner in Cape TownLast Friday I finally made it to 27Dinner in Cape Town. This particular event was oversubscribed, which is a healthy sign for any event organisers and sends a positive message to all the participants. It reminds me when someone said, the geeks shall inherit the earth 😉 This is really a superb way to meet the most prolific bloggers around South Africa. I have been recommending the students from my blogging seminars, including many from the PR industry, to attend these events. And they have done so with great feedback.

The Wild Fig restaurant, which has served as venue for several previous events, is an awesome retreat from the insantiy of Primi Piatti, the venue of choice in Johannesburg. Even though it took me about 30 minutes of driving around Observatory it was well worth it in the end. The first people to arrive was Dave Duarte and Max Kaizen, the hunter of genius. Does anyone else know they brother and sister?

Continue reading “Finally made it to Cape Town 27Dinner”


Technology Stress presentation at Joburg 27Dinner

This is the presentation delivered at the 27Dinner event in Johannesburg. I will be updating this post with a summary of the key points discussed. Although you can download the file from because it has sources and references in the presentation notes.


27Dinner launches in Port Elizabeth

Ramon Thomas and friends27Dinner for the uninitiated are meetings arranged by and for bloggers or people interested in social media. They take the form of an informal dinner with a few speakers and have been a hit across South Africa. In Johannesburg and Cape Town these dinners have drawn sometimes as many as 100 people at a time. At least half the audience tends to be geeks or technically oriented people, while the others are a mixture of marketing, public relations, journalists or spectators. Last year I had the opportunity to speak at the 2nd 27Dinner in Durban, hosted by Marc Forrest and was excited once more to be a speaker because it’s may way of giving back to the community from which I have learned so much.

Now I’d like to give this some context because Port Elizabeth is often ignored by people running events, whether they be entertainment (music) or business related events. And I have taken it upon myself to find ways of bringing more important events like 27Dinner or Women4Women to this beautiful part of South Africa. After all I will be spending more time here from June 2008 while I take a mini sabbatical. The biggest thanks has to go to Alan Straton from MyPE for organising the venue, and doubly so for persuading the restaurant to open on a public holiday (27 April – Freedom Day). Greig Timkoe, my friend, and client did the introduction and delivered very short talk on handling workplace conflict created by email. This is a topic of tremendous importance that I would like to see expanded on in future talks or articles on his Peacemakers blogs.

Mark Bloomfield & wifeThe first speaker for the evening was Mark Bloomfield, South Africa’s only Adobe Community Expert. He gave an overview of the Adobe AIR platform which I have used to run the StomperNet Scrutinizer. The AIR platform sounds like a good idea in principle, especially if you are technically minded and understand things like bandwidth, processing power, database calls, etc. Most people don’t, not even people working in the broader technology sector. And therefore this has a limited market potential. Java is similar because it’s platform independent, however it’s different because it’s become more of a middleware application. Adobe AIR created beautiful application which run on your Desktop and reduced the dependence on bandwidth to some extent. Mark closed off with an introduction of a new development platform from Adobe who already owns Dreamweaver and Photoshop. There’s not much I can say about this software because it has not been launched yet. Now to go by the quality of Adobe’s other project this will be a boon for developers professional and amateur alike.My own presentation was an updated version of my Blog your way to becoming and Expert presentation.

Overall this was a smaller event with maybe 20 people attending. There were several who listed their names on the 27Dinner wiki page but didn’t show and that could be because of the week ahead filled with 3 public holidays and I know for a fact many people have chosen to go on holiday somewhere else.


March 2008 27Dinner Recap

This is the first time I’m writing a review of the monthly 27Dinner meetings that happen across South Africa. These meetings have matured over the last year into a worthwhile meeting place for innovative minds. These are likely to be the entrepreneurs who will steer the direction of business in South Africa for the next 50 years as the baby boomers go into retirement and die off 😉

Wherever Brian Carl Brown goes, I will follow. That may sound quasi-religious but I mean it because he is such a dynamic man, with a ton of energy and he knows how to bring that to the audience or the room. After rumours of a downturn in 27Dinner, Brian through his organisation, Blue Catalyst Network, stepped in as a sponsor and co-host of these excellent events. What struck me as a really positive sign is that these events continue to draw new people, who are not even blogging, into the fold. And I estimate there would a high conversion to becoming active bloggers or at least learning how to blog from these newbies.

After my initial apprehension that 4 speakers were to many for this format event I was impressed by how smoothly it all went. And because these events are hosted in public restaurants (like Primi Piatti in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg) it is difficult to have a Q&A. The speakers all asked if there were question but I noticed very little responses forthcoming.

Continue reading “March 2008 27Dinner Recap”


Discover Your Inner Geek

Mike Stopforth 27Dinner founderThis is from Mike Stopforth, Web 2.0 guru…I’ve already reserved my seat:

I’m hosting another installment of the infamous Geek Dinner movement, now branded “27“, on the 27th January at 5pm in the Studio at Primi Piatti, Rosebank. The last one was an enormous success, and we’d like to keep the tradition going.

I regard you highly either as an incumbent geek, or a non-geek with huge potential.  Either way I’d love to see you there.  Seriously, 27 is a get together for people who love life, living on the edge, connecting, creating and innovating.  It has a tech / Web theme , but we have some talented entrepreneurs, big name media folks, artists, muso’s, designers and developers coming and it’s a great opportunity to meet new people, network and collab.  Check out the site at

I hope to see you there.  Phone me for more info or email your (positive) reply.

Yours in geek,


PS.  If you can’t make this one, 27 will be held monthly, on the 27th of each month – duh – alternating between CT and Jozi.  Next Jozi one is therefore 27th March.